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Saturday, November 11, 2023

Blackfoot Sue - Strangers (1974 uk, sensational mixture of folk glam and prog rock, 2011 edition)

Blackfoot Sue's second album, Strangers, was recorded in 1974, but disputes with their management meant that its release was postponed indefinitely, Fortunately, it finally saw release on a US label, Import, in 1977. The cover looked like more of a designer's rough sketch than a finished piece of work, but was intriguing none the less. It depicted a featureless being controlling the band on puppet strings, while a fully-fledged battle raged around the stage, an interesting reflection of the band's situation at the time!

As prolific as ever, the band had completed many song demos for the album, but their manager/ producer and their record company chose the tracks solely for their commercial potential and then made them even more gimmicky in the studio. The title of the album was derived from the track Shoot All Strangers, which referred to hostile redneck attitudes, whether, as the band said, in Texas or indeed, in English pubs. One song which hasn't stood the test of time is Tobago Rose. Originally written as a straight-forward country rock tune, Prairie Rose, Walker pushed the band into performing it reggae-style, even drafting in Blue Weaver from Amen Corner (another of the bands he produced and managed) to play synthetic brass, which, as David pointed out many years later, "...sounds quite comical now."

In fact, the recordings didn't really do the band justice at all. The exception is the almost side-long treatment of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" as 1812, which ventures into the free-flowing world of progressive rock and gives some idea of the energy of the band on stage - the song was a highlight of their live show, As David described it, "It was all done with violin bows On the guitars... we had huge great artificial stone letters spelling out '1812' . We used to smash jt up with axes and strobe lights flashed while the cannons exploded." They were thrown off a tour with The Kinks after only two days for doing just exactly that, and making too much of a mess on the stage!
CD Liner notes
1. Care To Believe - 3:22
2. Touch The Sky - 3:50
3. Shoot All Strangers - 5:14
4. Tobago Rose - 3:09
5. Nostalgia Ain't - 3:50
6. Bye Bye Birmingham - 3:28
7. Join Together - 3:36
8. 1812 (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) - 11:08
9. Morning Light - 3:07
10.Get It All To Me - 3:29
11.You Need Love - 4:06
All compositions by Alan Jones, David Farmer, Eddie Golga, Tom Farmer except track #8
Bonus Tracks 9-11 single releases

Blackfoot Sue
*Tom Farmer - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Dave Farmer - Drums
*Eddie Golga - Guitar, Keyboards
*Alan Jones - Guitar, Vocals